Ants, Bees, and Wasps (Hymenoptera)

Greek "hymen" (membrane) + "ptera" (wings)
Hymenoptera have two pairs of wings that hook together so they operate in unison. The exception is some types of ants, which have no wings. Hymenoptera have well-developed compound eyes, and most have a narrow waist where the thorax joins the abdomen. They are the only insect order besides the termites that form complex social groups of workers, drones, and queen. Most Hymenoptera have mouthparts for chewing; bees have a tongue-like proboscis for collecting flower nectar. Ants and bees are commonly plant-eaters, but many other species are predatory, such as large hunting wasps, or parasitic, such as the wasps whose larvae grow inside a living arthropod.

Which Hymenoptera is it? Keep Going


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Carpenter Ant
© 2006 Joyce Gross
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Honey Bee
© 2004 Joyce Gross
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Red Cone Gall Wasp
© 2006 Joyce Gross

Quick ID

  • 4 membranous wings
  • narrow waist, usually
  • chewing mouthparts
  • stinger or ovipositor (females)

More information about Hymenoptera

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Last updated: Jan 2, 2017